Fine White Ashes
by Katie Vieceli

It was Midsummer's Eve again, and Hedge had been drawn to the hill once more. This time, he had ran the last half-mile, his breath catching in his throat as he was drawn inexorably onward. He stood by the ancient sentinel, watching the sun go down.

The continuous muttering that the old man had kept up for who knows how long, probably most of his life, sputtered to a stop, and fine white ashes began to spill from his mouth instead. Hedge nodded, the time had come. He knelt in front of the old man almost reverently, for although he was longer a conduit for the creature that lay beneath the hill, he had absorbed some of its power during his long service, and it still resonated within him.

"The time has come, old man," Hedge said softly. The old man looked up at him with milky white eyes and nodded. They clasped their left hands together for a moment, then Hedge stood and drew his sword. He plunged it into the man's heart, and the corpse fell backwards onto the hill, soaking the ground with dark red blood. This was the final key, the sacrifice(the gift) that would allow Kerrigor to go free again.


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